Black Rage: The Continued Impact of Racism on Mental Health

Notwithstanding the recent saga of Christopher Dorner, Travis L. Gosa, Ph.D., writes at Ebony that very few black people snap and go "Rambo" or become real-life Djangos, despite historic and ongoing racial discrimination.

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Notwithstanding the recent saga of Christopher Dorner, Travis L. Gosa, Ph.D., writes at Ebony that very few black people ever snap and go "Rambo" or become real-life "Djangos" despite historic and ongoing racial discrimination. He examines the impact of black rage.

A fired, ex-employee returns to work and goes on a shooting rampage. Or, a politician receives a severed penguin head in the mail, with a manifesto protesting oil drilling in the Arctic. Your inner-F.B.I, C.S.I profiler screams, "White guy, scraggly long beard, and cabin-hideaway somewhere in the mountains," right? As the classic Chris Rock joke goes, Black people generally don't go crazy.

These stereotypes about race and mental illness make it difficult to understand the unusual occurrences in which Black people commit horrible acts.

The recent saga of Christopher Dorner -- the former Los Angeles Police Department officer who went on a ten-day shooting rampage and allegedly killed four people, before committing suicide at a mountain cabin hideout -- is a case in point. According to his 11,000-word manifesto, Dorner decided to launch a one-man war against the racism, corruption, and brutality of the LAPD, beginning with the murder of a police captain's daughter and her fiancé.

No one should use racism to condone his actions, but to what extent does the experience of racism contribute to these kinds of tragic events?

Black Americans have faced decades of trauma at the hands of White society and law enforcement. Beginning with the terror of slave catchers, lynch mobs, and the Klu Klux Klan, this experience continues today with the militarization of urban police forces, the mass-incarceration of young Black men, and racial profiling under the guise of "stop and frisk" laws.

Read Travis L. Gosa, Ph.D.'s entire blog post at Ebony.

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